Sam Allardyce has molded Blackburn in his own image during his time there, just has he did at Bolton. The match against Liverpool saw Blackburn notch up 25 fouls, equaling this season’s record for fouls. This endemic ‘physical’ style play is the direct cause of Aaron Ramsey’s leg hanging off at an awful angle on Saturday.
FA Cup 4th Rnd. Cardiff City 0 – 0 Arsenal: Highlights here
Arsenal went to Ninian Park with a reasonably strong line up yesterday and came away with a draw from a match that we could have won.
I missed the first 20 minutes, but it seemed to be a reasonably even first half. Cardiff spurred on by their fans at Ninian Park, and trying their best to close Arsenal down. They had some good chances but I don’t think they ever looked like winning.
After half time Arsenal came out with renewed vigour and we dominated possession and chances as Cardiff tired.
There were good performances from Gibbs and Song, but Ramsey looked off colour on his return to his old club.
In the end after having many good chances to score the game ended 0-0. Bendtner, RVP and Adebayor all had good opportunities, and I thought we were good going forward, it’s just a pity we couldn’t finish Cardiff off.
Wenger said after the game:
“We could do without the replay, 100%, but let’s not complain because we play football.
“It’s one more game to play. If that’s the price we have to pay to stay in the hat, we’re happy to do it.
“We are short at the moment and cannot rotate much. I could rest a few players in this game but not as many as I had wanted.”
Hopefully we can do the job on 3rd Feb at home now.
Arsenal 3 -1 Plymouth: Van Persie 47, Gray 50 og, Duguid 53, Van Persie 85. Highlights here.
Arsenal put themselves through to a 4th Round tie at Ninian Park in the FA Cup after a 3 – 1 victory over Plymouth.
The first half was all Arsenal, but to little effect. We had few shots on goal and the possesion we had didn’t have an impact. It was good to see Ramsey play, I thought he had a good game, Gunnerblog has a few points about him here.
The second half started with a bang, two Arsenal goals, RVP got the first from a corner and then a Gray own goal just minutes later.
Plymouth came back with a goal and their 8,500 fans went mental. It was quite refreshing to see some more enthusiatic support in the Emirates this season. The sombreros went flying through the air to shouts of ole! when Vela came on, and to good effect.
Our third goal was deserved, RVP attempted a lob, the keeper deflected it, and RVP went round him to put the ball in off the underside of the bar.
In other news, all is quiet on the transfer front, but Walcott’s agent claims Theo is frustrated that Arsenal have not continued contract talks started in November. He still has 18 months remaining, but it would be sad to lose another player on a free.
Arsenal 1 – 0 Portsmouth: Gallas 81
Yesterday we saw Arsenal beat Portsmouth 1-0 with a decent performance. Highlights here.
We played poorly at times, but that is understandable for a squad down to the bare bones, and lacking almost all confidence.
We were lucky to escape some of Pompey’s earlier efforts, but as the game stretched during the second half our quality started to show. Ramsey and Vela came on to good effect, and 10 minutes before the final whistle we saw Gallas rise to put a Denilson free-kick beyond David James.
We lacked the creativity that Fabregas provides, and it might be more telling against better opposition, but with some January investment we can survive.
It was always the result that would matter, having so spectacuarly capitulated in the previous three games. I’m happy with the win, and hopefully we can build on the result.
I watched a fantastic young Arsenal side beat Wigan tonight. The average age of our team was just 18.7 years old, and they played fantastically, and beat Wigan with 3 excellent goals and dominated the game with large amounts of possession.
Arsenal started well with plenty of great chances keeping Kirkland very busy. We could have had 5 in the first half, Vela, Wilshere, Simpson and Ramsey all sparkling.
Wilshere set up the first goal, he played a defence splitting pass through the middle to Simpson who poked it past the onrushing Kirkland.
In the second half a punch out by Fabianski to Ramsey who played an amazing long ball 2/3s of the pitch, Vela was running onto it and beat the defender, rushing into the box, and pulling it back for Simpson to smash home another.
Minutes later, a run forward from Djourou and a lovely pass forward put through Vela. His first touch was amazing, and under pressure he put a delightful lob over Kirkland to make it 3.
The whole team played fantastically and Wenger has pledged to stick with them. Why not? He says they are the most complete youth side we have ever had.
Very exciting to watch, and I think some of those names will be much more familiar to us come next season.
Arsenal finished a good week with a fantastic 4-0 victory over Blackburn at Ewood Park this weekend. After Theo’s midweek hattrick for England, we had a goal glut on our hands. Theo – looking so, so, so confident, set the first up – for RVP to score, and then Ade went on to get a hattrick of his own, with assists from the likes of Ramsey and Denilson.
Wenger had thought of leaving Theo out, but decided against it:
“The problem with scoring three times for the national team is that everyone expects you to score again. Football isn’t like that.
“What is most important is that he has a good team attitude, tries to work hard and the rest will come with time.”
We looked fantastic and outplayed Blackburn, I was worried we would stumble here, but the opposite was true. Theo was confident, Ade got goals, RVP got a goal and the team looked good, plus the fact that Man Utd lost 2-1 to L’pool could only make it better!
Ade talked about the team performance, he will be happy that he got his goals in, I hope it can be a confidence booster for him. Ade is the player we rely on most for goals, so it was good to see him get the first few out of the way, lets hope they keep coming:
“People kept asking me when I was going to score my first goal in the league this season.
“But I told them it is more important that the team wins. We showed good character at Blackburn and that will help our confidence.”
Click here to view the match highlights.
Jack Wilshere came on, becoming the youngest player to play for Arsenal ever, and Wenger had this to say about him:
“I bring English players slowly through,” Wenger told Arsenal TV. “He is another one who will soon play for you [England].”
Exciting stuff, and you can’t help but get excited when you see some of the great youngsters we have coming through. I just hope they can match their talent with trophies..
Huddersfield 1 – 2 Arsenal (0 – 0 H/T)
Goals: Michael Flynn (75), Sanchez Watt (79), Nacer Barazite (87)
Arsenal played Huddersfield earlier this evening at the Galpharm, coming from behind to win 2-1.
The game was part of Huddersfield’s Centenary celebrations, and was dedicated to Herbert Chapman, a manager who achieved great success with both Huddersfield and Arsenal throughout the 1920s and 1930s. After the game Arsenal lifted the first Herbert Chapman Trophy.
The line up was a young one, Wenger taking no risks with the upcoming Champions League qualifier against FC Twente on the 13th August:
J.Hoyte G. Hoyte Djourou (c) Gibbs
Lansbury Randall Ramsey Wilshere
Arsenal’s youngsters got a run out here and came away with a decent win. Ramsey looked very good in the centre of the park as did Randall, who is surely one to watch for the future.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas ->Gavin Hoyte
Emmanuel Frimpong -> Aaron Ramsey
Jay Simpson -> Carlos Vela
Nacer Barazite -> Theo Walcott
Sanchez Watt -> Jack Wilshere
Vito Mannone -> Lukasz Fabianski
65th Minute Substitutions
Havard Nordtveit ->Henri Lansbury
Kyle Bartley -> Johan Djourou
Rui Fonte -> Justin Hoyte
Yesterday, Jack Wilshere became the new Arsenal no.19. He is only 16 years old, but an amazing young talent, he played twice in the Emirates Cup and shone there and with 7 substitutes in the Premiership this season he may well get his chance to play for the first team.
Wilshere has played for Arsenal since the age of 9. Last year he was used in the Under-16s, but then became a top player for the Under-18s. He has impressed in pre-season and now forms part of a new influx of youngsters into the squad, Vela, Nasri, Ramsey, Mannone and Bischoff.
Reserve Team manager Neil Banfield on Wilshere:
“If the young players work hard at their game, listen to the advice of the coaching staff, they realise they will have every opportunity here,”
“Jack was given the opportunity by the manager to go on the Austrian Training Camp, along with five others who have all done really well. Jack has taken his chance, and he is one of quite a few we have here that we have high hopes for.
“You have to adapt to the physical aspects of the game, and I think Jack is strong enough. It is about how you physically develop and I think with Jack, even at 16, it doesn’t mean he won’t be as physically strong as someone at 18 or even someone at 20.
“That has been the benefit of our Reserve team. The experienced players that our lads are up against means they learn on the pitch. The senior players then show them what to do while the game is going on. That is carried on for the young lads who learned so much in Austria.”
This is very promising news. It is exciting to have so many young prospects in the team.
One problem is that last year our squad looked lightweight and inexperienced, and we haven’t brought in any very experienced players, only replaced them with young ones.
I don’t doubt our ability – last year we played fantastically and were unlucky to come away with nothing but does this bode well for our chances of silverware?
Wenger has his critics and they will be salivating at the thought of bringing these new young talents down to the ground very hard.
I am excited for the new season, but I really really really don’t want to turn it into another ‘transition year’.
The departure of Flamini to AC Milan eariler this summer was undoubtedly a blow for Arsenal FC. Last season he went from being a squad player, to one of the most influential figures in midfield and forged an excellent partnership with Fabregas.
Now he has left the void has to be filled. Gooners were probably hoping Arsenal would sign a new defensive midfielder to partner Cesc, but that’s not likely now, Wenger seems to be focusing more on the wings, which were a problem area for us last season.
In the centre of we have the option of Gilberto or Diaby, and also Song, Denilson or even Ramsey. The best defensive candidates are Gilberto and Diaby.
Gilberto – already having played the role for a few years prior to Flamini’s emergence has the experience and quality. The problem is he looked poor last season when he did get a few chances to impress, and his passing is always up to scratch. He plays a diffferent game to that of Flamini, tending to hold back, whereas Flamini is always in the oppositions faces.
Gilberto would be a sensible choice to start with as a defensive midfielder, but I don’t think he is good enough anymore to warrant a staring place.
Abou Diaby is my choice. He is a strong and fast player, with a lot of height. We used him on the wing last season, and he got a few goals. The main problem with him is that he is inconsistent – and can be lazy.
Diaby has great qualities for the role though, he is defensive, but very good going forward – his pace, passing and ball control mean that he would be a great partner for Cesc, and he is a long term option.
If he can up his work rate and consistency then he could have a chance, I would love to see Wenger try him out next season.
There are other contenders – Denilson, I think isn’t ready for that sort of role. Ramsey – more suited to the wings, and Song – Wenger thinks that he will better used in defence.
So we start the season with a first team spot up for grabs, we just need to see who takes it.
What do you think – is there anyone I’ve missed – or do you think we should be signing a new central midfielder?